Rutgers University Offers Free, Low-Cost Tuition to Students from Disadvantaged Families

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This week, Rutgers University introduced the Scarlet Guarantee, a financial aid program that will significantly reduce or eliminate tuition and fees for first- and second-year students from low- and middle-income families.

Nearly 7,600 Rutgers students — close to 20 percent of current undergraduates — will be eligible to enroll.

“The Scarlet Guarantee program will help qualified students from across New Jersey realize their hopes, dreams, and ambitions and will help Rutgers become an even richer and more diverse university,” Rutgers President Jonathan Hollway said in a statement.

The program closely mirrors the Garden State Guarantee, a recently approved New Jersey state initiative that will offer financial assistance to third- and fourth-year students.

Both programs will completely cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for students from families with an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less. Families making between $65,001 and $80,000 would see maximum college costs of $3,000 annually. Tuition and fees are also capped at $5,000 each year for families with incomes between $80,001 and $100,000.

Funding from the initiative can also be used with other scholarships and grants to help pay for additional expenses, such as food, housing, transportation, and course materials.

Scarlet Guarantee will cost an estimated $24 million in its first year, with a $10 million contribution coming from the state.

The program is set to launch in the 2022-2023 academic year.